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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

UPR president provides salary hike to avoid stoppage of classes as union threatened to strike

University of Puerto Rico President Luis Ferrao Delgado

By The Star Staff

University of Puerto Rico (UPR) President Luis Ferrao Delgado announced Tuesday a salary hike for the UPR Workers’ Union, which earlier had announced a strike.

Ferrao said he had been working with the Financial Oversight and Management Board to obtain funding for the promised salary hike to $9.50 per hour. He had earlier described the decision to strike as unfortunate.

“The call made by the University of Puerto Rico Workers’ Union this morning is unfortunate,” Ferrao said. “As recently as [Monday], I sent a communication to Mr. David Muñoz to let him know that I am in constant communication with the Oversight Board and its executive director, hoping our petition will be approved to address wage justice for all employees who earn less than $9.50 per hour.”

On Monday, the maintenance employees represented by the union agreed to go on an indefinite strike after the university administration failed to comply with an agreement reached on Feb. 20 regarding the salary adjustment and the workers’ right to make decisions regarding their health insurance plan.

“I urge the financial oversight board to expedite the process that allows us to materialize this promise made to the union and the UPR employees,” Ferrao said. “This petition will raise the minimum wage to $9.50 for 1,430 employees. The budgetary impact was $5.3 million. Once we receive the approval, we will proceed to carry out the programming retroactively to July 1, 2023.”

“Since I took over the presidency, I have been in direct conversations and responding to all employees’ claims to do wage justice, formalize their collective agreements, and review the classification plan,” the official added. “Likewise, through the admissions policy, we have managed to stop the downward enrollment trend affecting all universities on the island.”

Ferrao said the union’s determination hurts the student recruitment efforts and all those who have worked hard for the institution’s benefit.

“I call on all employees to balance the right to demonstrate and the start of classes to minimize interruptions in the academic calendar,” he said. “I call for open communication and a peaceful and respectful protest that does not impede students when they start classes.”

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